Will the Luck Fairy Bring You a Freelance Writing Gig?

Carol Tice

Will the Luck Fairy Bring You a Freelance Writing Gig?Do you sometimes feel like other writers have it easier than you?

They tell you about the great clients they have, or the national magazine article they just wrote an article for…and you feel like it’s unfair.

You think: They’re lucky, and I’m not. I just need to catch a lucky break. Then I’ll have great gigs and earn more.

I call this the myth of the Luck Fairy.

From the outside, it appears success magically happens to other writers. Meanwhile, you struggle to find the quality of gigs you want.

But that’s not reality.

Sure, now and again a writer might just sort of blunder into a good gig by accident.

But in general, that’s not how it works.

Here’s how to get the luck fairy to bring you a freelance writing gig:

In my experience, there are three basic ways you get that Luck Fairy to show up at your house:

Spend more time on your writing. Realize that each piece you turn in can be your magical ticket to a better gig for a better market. That article can also be a ticket to another assignment from that same client, which makes life easy, doesn’t it? Put a little more sweat into the gigs you have now, and they can sprinkle fairy dust on your career.

When I asked the editor at my first staff-writing job why on Earth he hired me when I didn’t have any business clips at the time, he told me it was the quality of writing in my articles. They weren’t on his topic, but they showed him I had the chops. I took a tryout assignment for him with about two dozen other writers, and he told me I was the only one who wrote something he could publish.

Want to get to higher earnings faster? You can speed your way down that Yellow Brick Road by tapping your heels together three times…and then working harder on your craft.

Learn about the writing biz. Don’t know whether you can send a simultaneous query? Want to know how to break into copywriting?

Smart writers don’t sit and wonder. Knowledge is a magical power that can transport you to new places in your freelance writing career.

When you realize you don’t know something that’s creating an obstacle to your writing success, go out and learn how to do it.

Learning can be your Open Sesame. You’ll find new doors of opportunity that were hidden to you before suddenly standing wide open.

Market your ass off. When you proactively market your business — instead of feeding off of whatever Craigslist hands you this week — you are in control. The more marketing methods you use and the more marketing you do, the more nibbles you get from clients.

More nibbles mean you start being able to pick and choose your clients. You work for better editors, who help you do even better work. That helps you get an even better client, and so on.

Even my 9-year-old son is hip to the fairy myth.

I tell him to stick his tooth under his pillow and the tooth fairy will bring him some money. And he looks me in the eye and says, “You are the tooth fairy, mom.”

Writers, you are the luck fairy. Get out there, wave your wand/pen…and make the magic happen.

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  1. Esther van der Wal

    You’re so right, Carol. I can’t believe I’m sitting here procrastinating over my next interview instead of taking the bull by the horns and doing some active marketing today.

    You know what I like about this article? It’s friendly. Sure, it’s a hard world and sometimes we all need a good kick in the butt. But asking myself whether a sweet fairy will really get me my next writing gig helps me today.

    Best quote? “You are the tooth fairy, mom.” 🙂

    • Carol Tice

      Well, I am aiming for a supportive atmosphere around here! Thanks for letting me know I’m on track.

  2. Karen Cioffi

    Great post and reminder! We are often our own worst enemies.

  3. Wendy

    Another awesome blog, Carol. Thanks for sharing your wisdom! 🙂 I especially enjoyed the part about marketing my butt off–an area that I tend to procrastinate in, but a light went on in my head when you said that proactively marketing my writing puts me in control. That statement is incredibly empowering to me. BTW: I’m going to get to work now! 🙂

    Blessings to you and please keep sharing your wisdom!

    ~Wendy Komancheck

  4. ella

    It’s true bottom line is that only hard work gets you anywhere, there are no shortcuts and the “lucky” ones are just lying 🙂

  5. Krissy Brady, Writer

    You took the words right out of my mouth! I am determined to work on all three points you have made. I’m only on day 4 of my revised daily schedule, but it’s already making a big difference. I find that the most important thing to these changes for me has been organization. When I have my files and deadlines organized for my work, writing and blog, it gives me the clarity to plan what to work on when without them interfering with each other. You end up on such a roll, procrasination becomes a thing of the past. Hoping to keep up the momentum!

  6. David Treadwell

    I’m fortunate to have had a successful 35 year career as a freelancer, regularly earning a six-figure income. My “secret” was my speciality: writing admissions and fund-raising materials for colleges and schools throughout the U.S. I’ve also written over 50 articles and profiles for college and school alumni magazines. In my (semi) retirement, I’m striving to get published in magazines. I get the sense that most financially successful freelancers get much, perhaps most, of their income from writing about writing, creating newsletters, teaching writing, leading writing retreats, being writing coaches, etc. Is that a cynical take by an old fogey on what’s going on? How many aspiring writers really do make a decent living by writing about things other than writing. This old bird wants to know. Please advise….Thanks!

    • Carol Tice

      Hi David –

      I’m still earning the bulk of my living right now writing about business finance for publications and corporations, myself. Seriously — vast majority.

      This blog, and now Freelance Writers Den, all began as a crazy idea I had that I just wanted to help other writers earn more if I could, as a give-back out of gratitude that I was able to freelance successfully and live the lifestyle I wanted. I just kept hearing about people writing $10 articles, and it made me sick, and I wanted to help people do better.

      After MALW won Top 10 Blogs for Writers it sort of took on a life of its own…and I love helping other writers earn more, so I just keep at it. I’m sure I could earn more just billing my writing time…but this is more fulfilling.

      Love your story about your niche! Don’t know if you saw the piece on here recently by John Soares, who writes textbook supplements. So many great niches out there if you specialize.

  7. Carol Tice

    I just have to check in and add a quote I saw this morning from Thomas Jefferson:

    “I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.”

  8. Terri Forehand

    Wow, you hit it on the head today. I get so busy doing the email, checking the social networks, cleaning the house, coming back to check my emails, and then it’s time to go to my nursing job… I didn’t have time to write. I am my own worst enemy too. Thanks for the reminder. I need to quit trying to brainstorm a product idea from my nursing expertise and just write.

    • Carol Tice

      Well I don’t know…brainstorming a product idea is always awesome! But there needs to be writing time too.

  9. Connie P.

    Thank you for a post I really needed today.

  10. Pinar Tarhan

    Well, I think I would consider myself a little luckier if I lived in LA and knew some cool people in the entertainment industry (like J.J.Abrams or Nancy Meyers)- that could have made selling screenplays to Hollywood a little more possible:)

    But my Hollywood fantasies aside, I totally agree that working on your writing, learning and marketing play a huge deall on making your own luck. If you don’t have any connections, go out and make them! I’m a huge believer in creating your own success.

    P.S. I don’t consider any writing goal too far-fetched, if it is supported with a good plan, and some efficient work.

    Thanks once more for the motivation!


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